New Health Minister fixing procurement issues- Moves office to Drug Bond
It is the aim of recently appointed Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, to correct deficiencies in the procurement and distribution of drugs to health institutions across the country. The Minister has even relocated to the Ministry’s drug bond to do so.
In her short time there, the Minister said she has identified several systemic errors at the Ministry which was previously manned by now Social Cohesion Minister, Dr. George Norton. Dr. Norton was relocated from the Ministry at the start of 2017, after spending the latter half of 2016 caught up in a Drug Bond scandal.
During a tour on Thursday of the Ministry’s Drug Bond located at Diamond, Ms. Lawrence identified issues including a shortage of some drugs at the bond. She then mandated the Director of Regional Health Services to determine whether any region was in need of primary drugs.
To sort out the issue, the Minister has moved her office to the Bond, where she had begun making short and long term plans.
She noted that while Regions Eight, Nine and One have indicated that they are not short on supplies, 50% of the requirements for other institutions have been identified in the remaining seven regions. The Minister was quick to point out that the needs were not brought up by the Regions but only after a request was made by the ministry.
“We are going to work throughout the weekend to ensure that by Monday, that all of these facilities would have received that 50 percent of the drugs that they would have requested. Apart from that, we are also talking to the suppliers and we are aware at this time that there are some drugs that arrived in the country this morning (Friday, January 27, 2017) and so we have been speaking to the people at the Wharf so that they can expedite the release of that container of drugs,” the Minister related.
She also pledged to put systems in place to deal with this issue in future. As such meetings have begun with Regional Health bodies to hear what are some of the measures and mechanisms that can be put in place to facilitate the smooth and efficient delivery of health services.
Efforts are also being made to ensure that persons in the positions are able to carry out the functions and allow for a smooth flow of the services.